Project FAIR (Fair Hearing Assistance, Information and Referral) is a collaborative, citywide civil rights initiative working toward greater economic justice for low-income and homeless New Yorkers. Founded in 2001, as a coalition of legal services attorneys, community advocates, and law students, the partnership assists thousands of New Yorkers experiencing problems receiving or applying for public assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid. In bringing information directly to the hearing site and working with citywide organizations that serve low-income and homeless populations, Project FAIR reaches those with little or no access to legal help.
Over 2.5 million New York City residents are in need of public benefits to help them access health care, pay their rent, or feed and clothe their children. Those who apply for or receive benefits often must navigate complicated administrative “fair hearings” to obtain and keep their benefits. In the hundreds of fair hearings held each day, almost 95% of individuals appear without representation or assistance. For those who struggle with limitations such as mental or physical disability or low literacy, or who are dealing with complicated issues such as work or eligibility rules, the lack of information and assistance can often have dire consequences. A fair hearing often determines whether a household can prevent an eviction, obtain necessary medical care, or feed a hungry child.
For more information about Project FAIR, visit www.projectfair.org.